The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta says no one has a problem with the presence of Rwandan troops in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province, where they are helping fight insurgents.
Minister Biruta was giving a clarification on reports that some countries particularly, members of the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC), had concerns with Rwanda deploying a joint force ahead of them.
On July 9, Rwanda sent a 1,000-person contingent of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and Rwanda National Police (RNP) to Mozambique, to support efforts to push out insurgents and restore Mozambican state authority in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Dr. Biruta said the deployment came at the request of Mozambique and is based on the good bilateral relations between our two countries. The force has been conducting combat and security operations alongside Mozambican forces.
“The deployment is also grounded in #Rwanda’s commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine and the 2015 Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians,”
“Rwanda is committed to working with all willing partners to find global solutions for this global problem as no one is safe until everyone is safe,”
Minister Biruta responded to reports that some countries had concerns on the deployment, mainly built on comments by the South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who said that it was “unfortunate” that Rwanda had deployed its troops into Mozambique before SADC.
Dr. Biruta said that there is no single government that complained about Rwanda deploying in Mozambique.
“It is true when we deployed in Mozambique, a lot was said but we cannot attribute what was said to countries. These were probably comments made in individual capacity,”
“What we can say is that before we deployed, we had consultations with different stakeholders such as the African Union and concerned countries, particularly those in SADC, and others like France, USA, Portugal and China, among others,”
“We did not just wake up one morning and decide to deploy. We consulted and after that we went on to deploy. Whatever was said in this case cannot be put on countries but rather individuals in their own capacity,” Dr. Biruta said.
He pointed out that if there were any concerns, whoever had them should have channelled them through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but until now no one has expressed concerns on the deployment.
The Defence and Military Spokesperson, Col. Ronald Rwivanga, gave an update on the operations in Mozambique, revealing that key areas have been liberated from the insurgents in the ongoing fight.
“Between the 24th and the 28th of July, we conducted operations in a general area of Awasse. Four people were killed and a number of equipment was captured. one RPG, one medium machine gun, three sub machine guns and an assortment of medicines,” Col. Rwivanga said.
He added that two more insurgents, who were riding on a motorcycle, were killed on the same day, July 24th, in an ambush between Mbau and Awasse.
From the duo, the forces captured a submachine gun, one pistol, 8 magazines and one computer laptop, including some documents written in Kiswahili.
Col. Rwivanga said that on July 26, five more insurgents were killed, again at Awasse, from whom 8 sub machine guns were captured, along with two rocket-propelled grenades and one pistol.
“On the 28th of July, one insurgent was killed during an attack on our base. There were no casualties on our side. We repulsed them and we captured two rocket-propelled grenades and one submachine gun,”
“While taking one of our injured to hospital, we landed in an ambush but we managed to break through and we killed two. None of our soldiers was hurt in the ambush,” he said.
He pointed out that so far Rwandan forces have not sustained many serious incidents, except one soldier who was injured in the ambush and is recovering well.